When we first met Mike Pence, he was the God-fearing, jacket-buttoning Governor of Indiana who had just won the Miss Vice Presidential contest. Donald J. Trump chose Pence from “central casting,” he kept repeating, meaning that Pence looked like the movie version of a vice president—clean-cut, straight edge, decorative. In other words, Trump’s antithesis. When the two went public, there was a mismatched Odd Couple quality to their relationship.
Their look was classic Felix Unger and Oscar Madison: the tight-ass and the slob. The contrast was on display at the Republican National Convention, where Pence and Trump’s families went on an outing (below). Note that while Donald Sr. and Jr. are both rocking the flapping lapel, Pence keeps it high and tight. But that didn’t last. Spend a year in the Donald’s company and you too will eventually come undone.
Compare that image from July 20, 2016 photo with one taken a year later. Something seismic has occurred. Pence, like Trump, is now unkempt. It’s Oscar Madison and Oscar Madison, master and apprentice, slob senior and slob junior. They wear the same boxy suit, unbuttoned, of course, to show off that broad blue tie just hovering above the waistline—lower, in Trump’s case.
When did this happen? When did Pence start dressing like his sloppy boss, and why? We have a few theories.
Theory #1: The Twinkies Defense
Like women on their periods, once Pence and Trump started spending time with each other, they unconsciously synced up. Couples who live together will also often start to look alike. And, pets and their owners, which might be more applicable here. For some, that resemblance takes time. Others hurry it along, like the husband-wife baseball fans who wear the same hokey shirts in the stands. There’s a name for people who do this: “Twinkies.” Pence and Trump might be proud Twinkies. Couples goal achieved!
Theory #2: Mirroring
Trump doesn’t like real mirrors because they refuse to flatter him. Still, he loves when people mirror back to him the image that he wishes to project. This sociological practice has a name: “mirroring” or “twinning,” and it occurs mainly in insecure teenage girls not 70-year old presidents of the United States. In this photo, Trump and Pence look like slobs as they walk the halls of the White House. This look seems better suited to examining a truck, like below.
Theory #3: Pence is the World’s Biggest Suck Up
Although it goes against every fiber of his born again, evangelical Catholic soul, Pence lets it all hang out to play to Trump’s ego.
Pence (flapping lapels): Hey, look I can flap my lapels to create a breeze! You were right. This is so much better. I was too stiff before.
Trump: Appreciate the congrats.
Pence: I love my new rebel look. Mother has always insisted that I button my jacket—both my real mother who gave birth to me and my second mother who I have sex with.
Trump: Hey, that’s something else we have in common. I want to have sex with my daughter.
Pence laughs an uneasy laugh as Trump turns and stares out the window.
Theory #4: Trump Ordered Pence to Stop Making Him Look Bad
Perhaps President Trump called Pence into his office and laid it all out for him.
Trump: Here’s the deal, Mikey. I don’t wanna button my jacket. I mean I could if I wanted to. It’s not that my stomach is so large that the button won’t hold. Believe me. In fact, it’s interesting but I’ve actually lost weight since becoming president. I can eat ice cream and steak every day and not gain a pound. My doctors say it’s remarkable. Anyway, from now on, you’re gonna stop buttoning your jacket. If I’m unhinged, I want you to be unhinged, too.
Pence: Yes, master.
Theory #5: Pence is Playing the Long Game
The Army Guide specifically states, “Soldiers will keep uniforms buttoned, zipped, and snapped,” but it seems this Commander-in-Chief took that rule loosely. Taken last week, this photo captures Trump and Pence at the Pentagon where they couldn’t be bothered to look crisp for members of the military. Even more troubling is Pence has raised imitating Trump to a new level. Note the leaden feet, the gorilla arms, the thrusted jaw, the jutted butt. Trump comes by his brutishness naturally, but Pence has picked up the body language in just six months. This matchy-matchy look is no accident. They say dress for the job you want…and Pence wants Trump’s.
Meet the Women Who Are Making the Women’s March on Washington Happen
The executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, Linda Sarsour — a Brooklyn native, mother of three, and now one of the national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington — has been working at the crossroads of civil rights, religious freedom, and racial justice for 15 years. Once an aspiring English teacher, she joined the Arab American Association in its infancy, succeeding founder Basemah Atweh, her mentor, as executive director with Atweh’s death in 2005. “I grew out of the shadow of 9/11,” Sarsour said. “What I’ve seen out of bad always comes good, is that solidarity and unity, particularly amongst communities of color who feel like they’re all impacted by the same system.”
Tamika D. Mallory’s roots in community organizing and activism extend back to her early childhood: her parents were two of the earliest members of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network nearly 30 years ago, an organization for which Mallory went on to act as executive director. But it wasn’t until the death of her son’s father 15 years ago that Mallory found her niche in civil rights and flung herself headlong into activism. Now, she’s one of the four national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, balancing organizing the march with her day job as a speaker and civil rights advocate. “We’re centering this march by having women to be at the helm of it, to organize it, and to be most of the speakers,” she said. “At the same time I think it’s very important that we never forget the fact that our men, our brothers, our young brothers particularly need this support.”
Fashion entrepreneur Bob Bland was nearing the due date of her second daughter, now seven weeks old, when she posted a Facebook event calling for a march on Washington during inauguration weekend. Nine weeks later, she’s one of four national co-chairs at the heart of the Women’s March on Washington — where she’ll march with her infant, her six-year-old daughter, and her 74-year-old mother. “We’re activating people who were previously content with sitting behind their computer and posting on Facebook,” she said.
For Carmen Perez, executive director of Harry Belafonte’s Gathering for Justice and one of the four national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, work permeates everything else: “There’s no real life outside of activism,” she said. Just over two decades ago, Perez’s elder sister was killed — the anniversary of her burial coincides with the march, and with Perez’s birthday — and navigating the justice system motivated her to work with incarcerated young men and women, first as a probation officer and then with The Gathering, operating on the intersection of race, criminal justice, and immigration. “Oftentimes, when I’m in spaces, I am the only Latina and I have to speak a little louder for my community to be part of the conversation,” she said. “The work that I do around racial justice, it’s not just about Latino rights. It’s also about human rights.”
Californian ShiShi Rose, 27, moved to New York a year ago to develop her activism and writing. She previously worked at a local rape crisis center and assisted in educating therapists and counselors before turning her focus more squarely towards race, first via her Instagram account and then through public speaking engagements and writing. As part of the national committee for the Women’s March on Washington, Rose runs the group’s social media channels, from Instagram (where she has a substantial following) to Facebook. “Women encompass everything,” Rose said. “If you can fight for women’s rights, you can fight for rights across the board.”
A law student-turned-actress-turned-activist, Sarah Sophie Flicker was born in Copenhagen, the great-granddaughter of a Danish prime minister who has been credited with bringing democratic socialism to Denmark. She grew up in California before moving to New York to found the political cabaret Citizens Band, eventually joining the production company Art Not War. “Once you start breaking it all down, you realize the most vulnerable people in any community tend to be women,” she said. “All our issues intersect, and something that may affect me as a white woman will doubly affect a black woman or a Latina woman or an indigenous woman. So when we talk about a women’s movement, we need to be talking about all women.”
Vanessa Wruble, a member of the national organizing committee, is the uber-connector of the Women’s March on Washington. She’s also the founder and editor of OkayAfrica, a site connecting culture news from continental Africa with an international audience. It was Wruble who first messaged Bland on Facebook to connect her with the women who would eventually become her co-chairs: “She said, Hey, you know, you need to center women of color in the leadership of this so it can be truly inclusive,’” Bland recalled. Within a day, they were meeting for coffee; now, they’re marching together in one of the largest demonstrations in support of a vast array of causes in United States history.
Paola Mendoza, artistic director of the Women’s March on Washington, is a Colombian-American director and writer whose work has focused on immigrant experiences, particularly those of Latina women. “Women have never convened this way in our lifetime,” Mendoza said of the march, “and it’s being led for the first time ever by women of color.”
Janaye Ingram, who Michelle Obama once described as an “impressive leader,” is Head of Logistics for the March, in addition to being a consultant for issues like civil, voting, and women’s rights in Washington D.C.
Cassady Fendlay, communications director for the Women’s March on Washington, is a writer and communications strategist whose clients include The Gathering for Justice — the organization helmed by Women’s March national co-chair Carmen Perez. As the spokeswoman for the march, Fendlay is tasked with acting as its mouthpiece, ensuring its message is accurate, unified, and coherent.
In addition to being a producer of the march, Ginny Suss is the Vice President of Okayplayer.com and the President and co-founder of OkayAfrica — she does video production for both. Her background in the music industry runs deep, and she’s worked closely with The Roots for the past 13 years, serving as their Tour Manager for some time. She’s also produced large outdoor events like The Roots Picnic, Summerstage, Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, and Celebrate Brooklyn — vital experience for organizing a march of this size.
Last year, Nantasha Williams ran for the New York State Assembly as a representative of the 33rd district — which encompasses a region just east of Jamaica, Queens. Though she lost to Democrat Clyde Vanel, she’s putting her organizing skills to good use in the aftermath of the election, working on the logistics team for the march and assisting national co-chair Tamika Mallory.
When Alyssa Klein isn’t managing the various social media accounts for the Women’s March, she’s writer and Senior Editor at OkayAfrica, the largest online destination for New African music, culture, fashion, art, and politics. Based in both New York City and Johannesburg, Klein’s passion is movies and television, and has made it her profession to highlight creatives of color in both industries. Juggling social media is no easy side project, however. The Women’s March has approximately 80,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter, plus a over 200,000 on Facebook.
Shirley Marie Johnson is the March’s head administrator for Tennessee, as well as an author, poet, and singer. Primarily, though, she’s an activist and advocate for those who are victim to domestic violence, a cause that’s not only her focus at the March, but in her day-to-day life through her group Exodus, Inc., which aids those affected by rape, human trafficking, and other abuse.
Born in Shanghai, Ting Ting Cheng studied human rights at the University of Cape Town — and became an award-winning Fulbright scholar to South Africa — before heading to New York, where she’s now a criminal defense attorney at the Brooklyn Defender Services. All that’s no doubt come in handy for her role as Legal Director of the March.
Heidi Solomon is one of the three co-organizers for the Pennsylvania chapter of the Women’s March. Although she doesn’t have a long background in activism, Trump’s election moved her to take action, and she’s helped rally approximately 6,000 people from her home state.
Deborah Harris is a grassroots organizer and feminist self-help author who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and served as a community activist for 10 years in the fields of fashion, healthcare, at risk youth, and supportive women’s relations.
As Illinois’ state representative for the Women’s March, Mrinalini Chakraborty has taken the lead in coordinating the Chicago-area charge, organizing bus rides for well over a thousand women and other supporters. She’s also on the National Committee and is a coordinator for all 50 states coming to D.C.. And that’s in addition to her day job: She’s a graduate teaching and research assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago for anthropology, not to mention a student and a dedicated food blogger.
After earning her Ph.D in psychology, Dr. Deborah Johnson is now studying social work at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa — and making sure she stands up for both her and her daughter’s rights at the March, which she’s helping lead the way to for other Oklahomans.
Renee Singletary is an organizer, mother of two, wife of one, marketing consultant, and certified herbalist living and working in Charleston, South Carolina.
A yoga instructor, theater graduate, and local organizer, South Carolina native Evvie Harmon has brought her skills and energy to the march as its global co-coordinator alongside Breanne Butler. Together, they facilitate partner marches and local organizers around the world, bringing the whole thing into synergy.
Watch: These Women Are About to Make History as the Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington
These Women Are About to Make History as the Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington